[Excerpt] The transition of young disabled people from school to work is an issued of increasing concern to U.S. government policymakers. Currently, only one-third of all disabled Americans with disabilities work, although the remaining two-thirds who are not working would like to have a job, but may or may not be looking for one. However, data show that more than 15 percent of individuals with disabilities are unemployed compared with approximately 5 percent for the general population. For young disabled people, the employment situation has been even worse. The Disability Advisory Council, a commission created by Congress to study the effectiveness of the current Federal employment/disability policy and programs, noted in its 1988 Report to Congress that few high school graduates with developmental disabilities make a successful transition from school to sustained, gainful employment. It is estimated that in 1986, more than 90 percent of these special education graduates became dependent in some way after high school.
What are other countries doing to ease the transition process? This report, which is based upon the findings of two cooperative U.S.-Organization for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) activities, describes employment policies and programs to aid disabled young jobseekers in Japan, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, and the United States.